HAVOC XXXIV Recap – Notes & Photos

Finding a gaming convention that is close by to my home has been somewhat frustrating for me over the last few years.  Since I returned to the hobby, I have attended a few BARRAGE events in Maryland , but that’s it.

Imagine then that there was a con 15 miles from my home AND that they have been having it for 34 years (and I never knew!).  The event was the three-day (Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday) HAVOC convention, run annually by Battlegroup Boston.  This year was HAVOC XXXIV, and I learned of it through the New England Wargame Groups List page on FaceBook.  It ran from April 6-8, and I am really glad that I could attend, but it was a last-minute decision.  I was also hoping to let folks know about our group, The Mass Pikemen’s Gaming Club in Central Massachusetts.

Back in March, I went to the HAVOC web page, and I also saw that they were looking for game masters.  I needed to wait to see if I could attend.  Ultimately, I was able to not only attend the event, but to run two retro sci-fi games using the Combat Patrol™ system.  The first game I ran was on Friday night.  It was “Attack of the Warbots” using figures from the Archive Star Rovers line from the late 1970’s (Mark III Warbots, Star Ducks, Aphids, and Power-Armored Frinx) along with my Mark 1 Sphere tanks).  There were also some Wargames Supply Dump Robo-Sentry guns acting as stationary defenses.

In this blog, first I’ll discuss the two games I ran, then share some photos and eye candy of some of the convention.

0 warbots only
My flyer for the game

I managed to get 7 players for the game, which was great.  I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked as I was running the game.  The players really had a great time and there was a lot of action.  No one had ever seen these figures before, and the mass of the Mark 1’s surprised them all!  I used a number of Armorcast sci-fi structures as well on the board, and they worked great.

1 setup Attack of the Warbots
The Warbots make their assault.  Their goal was to recapture a Mark 1 Sphere tank behind the building on the right center (which the Frinx were attempting to repair for their own use).  A Robo-Sentry gun has been taken out by the Warbots and burns in the middle.
2 Robo sentry guns and Sphere tank burn
Frinx anti-tank fire from the factory’s 2nd floor knock out a Warbot Mark 1 Sphere tank between the slag mounds, and more Robo-Sentry guns burn.  The remaining Mark 1 prepares to use its Death Ray on the Aphids on the left.   
3 Aphid Platoon Leader attacks Sphere tank
The Mark 1’s attempt to fry the Aphids fails and its weapon malfunctions.  Seizing the opportunity, the Aphid platoon leader leaps onto the tank from the second floor and attempts to destroy it with a satchel charge.
4 Warbots advance
The satchel charge attack failed to penetrate the Mark 1.  Frinx bazookas then hit the tank while the platoon leader was on top of it.  The Mark 1 was immobilized by this AT fire, but the Aphid platoon leader was killed by the same attack.  Note the card on the tank – I use cards with pictures on them to denote casualties for infantry. 

While all this was going on, the Warbots on the right closed with the Robo-Sentry guns and the Star Ducks defending the wall.  In this game, I have the Warbots use the Japanese Combat Patrol™ deck, which has different morale results.  A morale card result caused one Warbot team to make a Banzai charge at the last surviving Robo Sentry gun, which was jammed.  This enabled the Star Ducks to hit the team with direct fire.  When the Banzai charge was over, another morale check caused this same team to flee the game, stifling this assault.  The Frinx just got their captured tank fixed as the game was out of time.  Due to the casualties inflicted by the Warbots, I called the game a draw.  The players all were highly excited by the game and loved the ease of use of the Combat Patrol™ decks for all aspects of the game.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my game was nominated for the “Al Award”.  From the HAVOC website, this is “presented for the game with the most stunning visual appeal. Our crack team of experts (expert team of cracks) will vote on the game that made us say “Wow!”.”  I was honored to be nominated, but even more so to win!  Thanks so much for this to Battlegroup Boston!  A great con it was to be sure – and I felt very welcome here by all the club members.

000 Al Award

11a award
A true honor!  Thanks so much Battlegroup Boston!

The second game I ran was on Sunday, which was “GO FROGS RIBBIT – STOP THE BUGS”.  It was a battle between the F.R.O.G. Commandos (with Star Duck reinforcements) and two Archive Star Rovers foes – the aforementioned Aphids and the Hurraku Space Phraints.  So, basically, it was insectivores versus insects, albeit big bugs.  The Frogs were defending a wooded area between two rivers and specifically their sacred pond.  The insects’ objective was to seize the pond, and to dispatch as many amphibians as possible along the way with extreme prejudice.

8aa 04062018 HAVOC frogs phraints only
My game flyer for this game

I ended up with four players for this game – one for each attacking bug side on opposite sides of the board.  Star Ducks would reinforce the Frogs as a special event card was pulled during the game.  The Frogs would use the regular decks, while the bugs would use the Japanese decks.  The Space Phraints also had a Sith.  Here again, the players quickly adapted to the Combat Patrol™ deck.  All were new to the game.

8a set up for FROGS with me
My set up – Aphids attack from the south, Space Phraints from the north.  Terrain posed a challenge for the attacker because their long range weapons advantages were nullified.
8n me gming
The players listen as I brief – photo by Mike Paine

The Aphids got into the fray first with their Grav Cycles, while the Aphid infantry and the Space Phraints advanced.

8b Aphid Grav cycles start
Aphid Grav Cycles prepare to jet across the river

8c game begins

8d Grav Cycles attack
The Aphid Grav Cycles charge into the two 2nd squad Frog positions (two teams by the yellow dice).  The Frogs prepare to respond with Frogbot’s chain guns, their assault rifles, and a flame thrower.  The Aphids attacking on the right have begun to take heavy casualties.
8h Aphids taking flamethrower hits
Aphid attacks are torched.  The leader of the one on the right lost all of his troops and ended up committing ritual suicide from a morale check card.

The Aphids however did effectively draw the Frogs to their attack, weakening the side facing the Hurraku Space Phraints.  This would have consequences.

8e Phraints advance
The Frogs 1st Squad maneuvers towards the Hurraku
8f Phraints advance by hill
1st Squad’s assault rifles inflict heavy damage on the advancing Hurraku Space Phraints.  The red beads represent morale checks for the Hurraku
8g taking flamethrower Phraints advance by hill
Then the Frogs used their flamethrower on them…

At this point, the Hurraku gambled and turned the tide of battle.  Linda (the Hurraku player) decided to take advantage of her Sith’s power of “Rage”.  This ability causes a Banzai attack. This also removes all stun markers from her troops while they charge at the enemy and engage solely in hand-to-hand combat (or just melee as we are talking about bugs and Frogs).  The Hurraku also all have the same activation number until the banzai charge ends, resulting in a true mass attack.  Here (in melee) the Hurraku have an advantage as they are very tough fighters.  They also move fast normally, and the “Rage” improves that movement by a factor of two.

8i BANZAI BUG ATTACK
BANZAI!  TO THE POND!
8j BANZAI BUG ATTACK
The other flank is swarmed
8k BANZAI BUG ATTACK
The Frogs are devastated by the assault.  Cards denote dead Frogs.  Blue beads represent morale checks for the Frogs, which were mounting up quickly.  During a Banzai charge, attackers do accrue morale checks, but are not stunned.  They also activate all at the same time.  The attackers would end their charge after a special card is pulled from the Action Deck – so it can go on for a while.  In this game, it never ended.

At this point, a Star Duck squad jet packed in as reinforcements, but it was not enough.  They jet-packed in to defend the pond.

8l Star Ducks arrive
Star Ducks reinforce Frogs for a last stand
8m BUGS WIN
A Hurraku Space Phraint reaches the sacred pond and wins the game

The players here had a good time and were good sports.  The tide swung from one side to the other.  In the end, the “Rage” Banzai charge was decisive.

I will now share some photos of the two games I played on Saturday morning and afternoon (I did not play Saturday night).  I played a Bolt Action scenario run by Friedrich Helisch.  The scenario was a 1941 German attack on a Russian-held village.  David Shuster was on the Russian side, while Friedrich and I played the Germans.  This was my first try at Bolt Action.

5 bolt action start
The battle begins as Germans move towards the village

5a bolt action mid

5b David Shuster bolt action mid
David Shuster moves his Russians up
5c David Shuster bolt action mid advance
View from the Russians side
5d first building assault
Germans successfully storm the first building

5e first building seized

5e second building seized
Germans successfully take the second building
5f stug hit
The Sturmgeschutz is hit

This was a points-based game, and our taking of the second building allowed us to win by 1 point, so it was very close.  As for the rules, I am on the fence, but more than willing to try them again at some point in the future.

The second game I played was a Gaslands scenario.  I had heard this was an interesting game and thought I’d try it out.  In this game you get so many points to choose and arm 2-3 vehicles (performance car, regular car, and pickup truck).  The goal is to run over (3 points) or shoot (1 point) pedestrians (in homage to Death Race 2000) instead of the usual zombies on the game board.  You can attack your opponents, but their destruction does not get you points (you do eliminate the competition).  The movement is very much like X-Wing.

I played with two other players, who chose to max out two vehicles, while I did three lesser-armed vehicles.  I chose to go after the competition and eventually had one of two vehicles to be the last on the tabletop.  However, at this point the game masters deploy invulnerable  Monster trucks to hunt you down and end the game.  I just missed my last pedestrian which would have tied me for first.  The game masters (Michael Eichner and Erich Eichner) did a nice job, and this was a fun game.  The table looked great too.

7 Gaslight start
The game starts – I had the red cars
7a gaslight start
After using a flamethrower on a white car, I t-boned the orange one, but flipped over the structure
7b gaslight playing
Game play – photo by Mike Paine

I thought that I should share some photos of the rest of the con.  I did not get to see as much as I would have liked, but there were a lot of very cool games.  Kudos to all the folks at Battlegroup Boston, as well as the GM’s and players!  Please share your thoughts in the comments section – thanks for reading this blog!

6 the HAVOC on Sat AM
A view of the con Saturday morning. There were two rooms.
9b 3d deathmatch from above
Tim Allen had a magnificent home game using Legos
9 3d deathmatch from above
The Deathmatch Arena 3D game
9a 3d deathmatch from above
Characters from Deathmatch Arena 3D
12 Lion Rampant
Lion Rampant game (big game!) run by Richard F. Wareing – photo by Mike Paine
13 Chain of Command Hurtgen forest
Thomas Ballou ran a Battle of the Hurgen Forest scenario – photo by Mike Paine
14 Silent Death Smash
Bruce Carson ran a Silent Death Smash game – photo by Mike Paine
10j hanghai game
Mike Paine’s immense game – spectacular!  Eye candy for this below, some I borrowed from Mike Paine with permission

10 hanghai game10a hanghai game10b hanghai game

10c hanghai game
Game play – photo by Mike Paine
10d hanghai game
Nice sampan -photo by Mike Paine
10e hanghai game
Beautiful terrain, so complex – photo by Mike Paine
10f hanghai game
Photo by Mike Paine
10g hanghai game
Game play – photo by Mike Paine
10h hanghai game
Chinese bombard – photo by Mike Paine
10i hanghai game
 Nice American gunboat – photo by Mike Paine

 

 

 

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

14 thoughts on “HAVOC XXXIV Recap – Notes & Photos”

  1. Enjoyed reading this! Sounds like all involved had a great time! Nice to see loads of your sci-fi minis in action, particularly the Frogs, and congrats on your award!
    Thanks for sharing the pics of the other games as well – I maybe need to scratchbuild myself a junk having seen the ships in your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks it was a nice surprise. There was also a VSF game there that I wish I had pictures of to show, unbelievable scratch-built stuff. The Junks and sampans etc were jaw-dropping. Felt like Wayne’s World (we’re not worthy) so that award was extra special.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow that looks like it was a load of fun, and your report really captured the spirit of the event beautifully. Congratulations on winning best inspiring visual game, well deserved by the look of it! There certainly was a lot of eye candy there. Where there any traders there or was this just a gaming event?

    Before I go I have to comment on your new header picture, that is a really cute bird you have on your arm there! and the parakeet of nice too. (sorry “Bird” is a slang term for a lady over here and I couldn’t resist, apologies to your good lady wife).

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There were indeed traders and vendors there, and Sunday there was a flea market. Did not get a chance to do much browsing, but I do keep a lookout for the rare stuff.

      I did get your joke! (and yes she’s cute and I’m a lucky guy). Not sure why, but it must have been the Brits and Scots I have hung out with over the years. Well played Roger!!
      No apologies needed! The feathered bird is Caesar, a male cockatiel who will be 24 years old in June. I thought it time to update my header – she’s (my wife) the best award I ever “won” as it were. Best, Mark

      Like

  3. Mark, thanks for using some of my photos and posting your blog at my hobby group. Congratulations on winning an Al Award, I didn’t make it Friday but your game looks cool in the photos. I did see your game on Sunday and that looked like an award winner too.

    See you around the miniature battlefields
    Mike Paine

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Looks like a great weekend, and clearly a bloody nice find in Battlegroup Boston. Congratulations on the award for the Combat Patrol game as well – great to see your hard work in creating and recreating all of these models recognised like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truly an amazing find and a great gaming weekend. Appreciate the congrats as well, as it’s nice to share with you. If only the con could have had you and my other blog followers as players – imagine that! Though you all make me want to do better work, so a piece of the award goes to all of you as well.

      Like

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